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Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009


Red Alert 3: Uprising Clarifications

EA community manager APOC has posted some Red Alert 3: Uprising Clarifications on the Command & Conquer Forums clearing up a few things about the recently announced RTS expansion. Admitting he was mistaken about this, he says the add-on will include traditional Skirmish mode play, going on to provide additional details about the Commander's Challenge, that they are looking at retail options in addition to the already announced digital distribution, and, perhaps contradictorily, that the price point they eventually settle on will reflect that it's a digital download (and perhaps more contradictorily, Direct2Drive has priced preorders at $19.95). APOC also stresses that the game is still early in its life-cycle, so: "While co-op nor multiplayer are not included with Uprising, we absolutely haven't forgotten our multiplayer audience and will have more info in the coming months ahead." Thanks Ant and Planet Command & Conquer.

Mirror's Edge Patch

The first patch for Mirror's Edge is available to update DICE's just-released action/adventure game. The new version addresses a potential freezing issue on some systems when PhysX is enabled. The download is available from AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Games On Net.

NY's Racist Games Bill

GamePolitics reports a new bill that's been proposed here in New York to create a state law to prohibit the sale of video games using racist language or stereotypes. The text of the bill seems to be missing, but here is the summary of Bill A01474: "Prohibits the sale to minors of certain rated video games containing a rating that reflects content of various degrees of profanity, racist stereotypes or derogatory language, and/or actions toward a specific group of persons."

Children of the Nile: Enhanced Edition Demo

A demo for Children of the Nile: Enhanced Edition is now available to provide a sample of the improved edition of Tilted Mill Entertainment's city building strategy game set in ancient Egypt. The Enhanced Edition offers the content of the original Children of the Nile augmented by gameplay enhancements, additional items and Windows Vista compatibility. The demo can be downloaded from the Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile Website, or one of these mirrors: AtomicGamer and FileFront.

CrimeCraft Trailer

A new trailer from CrimeCraft offers a look at Vogster Entertainment's upcoming Unreal-engine MMOG. The clip shows off a good deal of combat in the third-person shooter, which seems more like open warfare than any sort of crime, and there's a new CrimeCraft preview on DESTRUCTOID that helps explain how this game satisfies their urges to "shoot people online, or grief 12-year-olds on PlayStation Home, or gank phat lootz in an MMO." Back to the trailer, this can be found on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

Op Ed

CNET News - Don't pretend video games are as bad as cigarettes.
"No matter what anyone says about violent video games, and no matter what links may be found, no one can prove that playing them actually causes children to be violent. In fact, numerous studies have found that there is no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior."

Gamers With Jobs - Braid: In Search of Meaning *Contains spoilers*.
"My experience with the game changed dramatically once I started needing help, or indeed even discussing the game with other gamers. Because the Sturm und Drang about the game was much more about Blow than about Braid."

Humans Enabled - Open Letter to Game Makers - Investigate the niche of GNU-Linux compatibility. Thanks Ant and Digg.
"Over the next 1 to 3 years, and beyond, we are set to see the glory of the GNU/Linux operating system take hold as the prominently used end user platform for computers everywhere. This is why it makes a whole bunch of sense for you to port your games to GNU/Linux."

Evening Previews

It Came from CES 2009, Part 7

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits



Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

Ships Ahoy - PC Mirror's Edge

DICE announces that Mirror's Edge is now available in North America, and that the Windows edition of the parkour-themed action/adventure game will be available worldwide on Friday. They also note that the playable demo is available on Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, but to keep PC players from feeling too neglected, also mention that purchasers of the PC version will receive a remixed version of the Mirror's Edge soundtrack featuring the second best Still Alive song ever featured in a video game. The announcement also confirms the first DLC for the game is due for all platforms in just a couple of weeks: "DICE also confirmed today that downloadable content (DLC) for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and the PC will be available January 29th. This special DLC pack will challenge players to achieve the fastest times possible on nine races across seven all-new and totally redesigned Time Trial maps. The DLC pack will be available for $10 USD or 800 Microsoft points."

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Announced

Ubisoft announces Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, a prequel to the western-themed shooter Call of Juarez, is under development at Techland. The game will be released for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 later this year, and here is a brief description: "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood transports players from a ravaged Civil War-era Georgia to the Aztec ruins of Mexico. In the wildest West ever depicted, players can embody both McCall brothers in an intense Wild West storyline full of greed, lust and lawlessness that takes place during a legendary period of American history." They promise more details on the Call of Juarez Website, but it has not been updated yet.

Fallout 3 Patches

According to an announcement on the Bethesda Game Studios Forums, a new patch is now available for Fallout 3, updating the Windows and console editions of the RPG sequel to version 1.1. The update address bugs in the game, fixes several quests, and adds trophy support to the PlayStation 3 edition, as noted in the patch notes. The new version is available automatically via Windows LIVE, Xbox LIVE, and the PlayStation Network, but no manual patch is available at this time, nor is there a way to update the Steam edition yet. Thanks Phoenix. Update: The manual version of the patch is now available, the US patch is on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FanGaming, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), Gamer's Hell, GameSpot (registration required), and Strategy Informer; the UK patch is on AtomicGamer, FanGaming, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Strategy Informer; the German patch is on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell; the French patch is on AtomicGamer and; and other localized patches are on AtomicGamer.

Ships Ahoy - The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

The Lord of the Rings: Conquest Ships For Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC Worldwide announces the global multiplatform release of The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, the action game based on the film depiction of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series. Here's word on the game, which follows the paradigm of Pandemic's Star Wars Battlefront games: "Players can choose to control their favorite heroes and villains including Aragorn, Gandalf, the Witch-king, the Balrog and even the Dark Lord Sauron. Players can also engage surrounding characters in the world such as wargs and oliphaunts, control catapults and balistas, and even play as giant creatures such as cave trolls and Ents. As well, fans can play through the campaign modes cooperatively via online or split-screen and relive their favorite battles competitively via four-player split-screen or online with up to 16 players." More can be found on the game's official website. Those seeking to sample the Windows edition are out of luck, however, as last week it was revealed there will be no PC demo for the game.

Left 4 Dead Patch This Week

A post on the Steam Users' Forums says a patch for Left 4 Dead is expected this week, reflected in an email from Chet Faliszek saying the PC patch is separate from the Xbox 360 patch, and so it is Valve that accepts blame for tardiness in updating the Windows edition of the zombie shooter, rather than Microsoft. A follow-up on Shacknews confirms both the legitimacy of the email and the plan to release the patch this week. According to Faliszek: "Sadly Microsoft has nothing to do with the pc patch... that delay is all us. The PC and 360 will be patched independently not sure where people picked up that exploit/bug fixing was tied together. Only the DLC will be simultaneous. The problem on the PC side was a few large bugs affected other systems that we were going to rewrite on the pc so we ended up waiting to fix a whole class of bugs instead of just individual bugs. The patch should be out this week."

Morning Consolidation

SWG Character Transfers

Sony's Station Forums outline the free character transfer service that begins today for Star Wars Galaxies, the MMORPG set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Word is transfers, "are only offered to those accounts with characters created on or before December 11, 2008 on the identified galaxies." They have posted a Step-by-Step Guide to Transferring and a FAQ outlining the process. Thanks Massively.

X-Blades Interview

Southpeak’s Aubrey Norris talks about X-Blades on GameZone is an interview about X-Blades, Gaijin Entertainment's upcoming action/adventure game. One of Aubrey's answers addresses comparisons to Tomb Raider and Diablo: "With the inclusion of a strong female lead and ancient temple environment there is definitely a comparable similarity to the Tomb Raider franchise, however in regards to the Diablo series there is much less comparable content. Visually the game was conceived with a very unique feel, but in drawing similarities to other existing games there is a much stronger connection to franchises such as God of War and Devil May Cry. Combat mechanics, level design, camera angles and such stay fairly true to the hack-and-slash approach to the action adventure genre, however X-Blades provides a noticeably quicker pace to the formula by integrating a new approach to the magic system with the use of a 'rage' meter in place of the classic “mana pool,” and devising a system in which there is a greater degree of cohesiveness between the melee, magic, and shooting combat mechanics that is often lacking in similar titles."

New BF2 Battlefield Pirates 2

Yarr! A new version 2.1 of the Battlefield Pirates 2 modification for Battlefield 2 is now available on the BFPirates Website, and word is: "Release 2 brings many new maps, larger sea vessels, aircraft, new kits and pickups and several new game modes, including Capture the Flag and Zombie modes." The Changelog outlines what's new in the new version, which is available as a full client, or as an incremental patch for those who participated in the version 2.0 beta test.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

The DVD drive in my Xbox 360 had been problematic for a while; sticking after opening part way. It finally stopped closing at all the other day, so while it will still work for downloadable games and media content, the system is useless for playing disc-based games anymore. The drive got flaky long enough ago that I probably could have had it fixed under warranty had I done so right away, but it started out as a minor thing, and the growing seriousness of the problem only became apparent more recently when it refused to open if it was closed with no disc inside, requiring the use of a paper clip in that little emergency pokey hole dealie (EPHD). Anyway, I replaced the unit with a hard drive-free arcade system, since I knew from my pal Devicer's experience with an RRODed system that I could just put the drive from the old system on the new one. Sure enough, this new Jasper-based unit was very happy with my old drive, and I had no DRM issues with downloaded games or content. Funny thing was, I did have to delete games installed from the hard drive and reinstall them to be able to play them from the drive. I'm guessing that's somehow related to preventing the play from hard drive feature being used to pirate games, but I can't figure out how.

Jasper-based Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Scriball.
Ninjas vs Pirates Tower Defense. When memes collide.
Links: Hack your brain.
Stories: I was a 48-year-old virgin until I won £8.5m on Lotto. Thanks Digg.
Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice elected to Hall of Fame.
Science: MDI AirPod Car. Thanks Cutter.
Media: Team Fortress 2 - The Syringe Mystery.
One man choral group performs the Legend of Zelda theme.
Dog vs. Caterpillar.
The Funnies: Geeked - -Effective Roleplay.

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